Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.Jdg 12:6
I can and do, in retrospect, sympathize heartily, tenderly, and reverentially with the Simeonite or Evangelical reaction. Not a stone would I dare to throw at the names of any of the good men who took part in it. But, at the same time, I know perfectly well that there is a type of character which never did, never will, perhaps, understand Evangelicism, but which is capable of religious faith acceptable to God, though innocent of Shibboleths; and a type which could have found no shelter during (which I dare to call) the Sturm und Drang season of the Simeonite reaction, except in the bosom of the English Church.
—W. B. Rands in Henry Holbeach, II. pp. 44, 45.
As it is the ear of fruit which distinguishes the wheat from the tares, so this is the true Shibboleth that He, who stands as Judge at the passages of Jordan, makes use of to distinguish those that shall pass over Jordan into the true Canaan from those that should be slain at the passage. For the Hebrew word Shibboleth signifies an ear of corn. And perhaps the more full pronunciation of Jephthah's friends, Shibboleth, may represent a full ear with fruit in it, typifying the fruits of the friends of Christ, the antitype of Jephthah; and the more lean pronunciation of the Ephramites, his enemies, may represent their empty ears, typifying the show of religion in hypocrites without substance and fruit.
—Jonathan Edwards in The Religious Affections.
Reference.—XII. 6.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 269.
Jdg 12:8; Jdg 12:11; Jdg 12:13
As one old statesman leaves the scene, a younger one comes forward, in the vigour of hope and power, to fill his place. When one great orator dies, another commonly succeeds him. The opportunity of the new aspirant is the departure of his predecessor; on every vacancy some new claimant—many claimants probably—strive with eager emulation to win it and to retain it. Every loss is, in a brief period, easily and fully repaired. Even, too, in the hereditary part of our constitution, most calamities are soon forgotten. One monarch dies, and another succeeds him. A new court, a new family, new hopes and new interests, spring up and supersede those which have passed away.
—Bagehot in The Economist for December, 1801.
A deep teaching lies in the Hebrew idea, recurrent in so many forms, and haunting the world of fairyland and of legend, that the most precious gift of heaven must be long waited for. The late-born child is always the best beloved, the wondrously gifted, the miracle of strength, or the seer, who is to decide the fate of a nation. More or less, we see that the late-born is the precursor of the virgin-born.
—Julia Wedgwood, Message of Israel, p. 142.
References.—XIII. 16.—W. Ewen, Christian World Pulpit, 1891, p. 328. XIII. 18-22.—J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (1874), p. 249.
And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands.
And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?
Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.
And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;
Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.
And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.
And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.
Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem.
And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.
And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.
And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel.
And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.
And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.